Getting your press release published

Once your press release is well written and ready to go, it’s time to disperse it to your chosen media outlets.  Here are a few tips to ensure your release gets published and not filed in the trash pile.

  • Pick publications that make the most sense for your release and its target audience.  For example, if you’re launching a new women’s clothing store, don’t send the release to a dog lovers’ magazine.
  • Find out the contact information for each publication.  Many newspapers, magazines, radio stations and television stations have this information on their Web sites.  Some even have forms online for you to fill in.  Others, though, keep this information under wraps.  When you can’t find it or are in doubt, call and ask.  Tell them what kind of press release you have (new business, community event, concert, etc.) and ask to whom you should send the release.  Be sure to get the preferred method whether that’s e-mail, postal mail or fax.  Most outlets are fine with e-mail these days.
  • Most press releases will be sent e-mail.  Make sure that you write a grammatically correct message that includes your main point and contact information.
  • Unless instructed to do so, don’t attach the press release to the message.  Instead copy and paste the text into the body of your e-mail.  Most editors are wary of viruses in attachments.
  • If you’re sending it to numerous media outlets, don’t obviously send them in the same message.  You can either do a mail merge with a contact list in a spreadsheet or database program or you can do a blind carbon copy (BCC).  This allows you to send the same message to numerous people at once without revealing their e-mail addresses to anyone else.  If you’re sending it to 10 or fewer media outlets, I’d suggest individual and personalized messages (mail merge lets you go this route, too, but the time isn’t worth it for fewer outlets).
  • Don’t forget about online community calendars.  This doesn’t work for all press releases, but for event-oriented ones, these are helpful.
  • Send it to your contacts.  Don’t go crazy and send the release to everyone you’ve ever e-mailed, but don’t be afraid to send it to your friends and family or colleagues who would be interested.  Just like with other e-mail messages use you own discretion so as not to pester or offend anyone.
  • And, finally, don’t forget that your can tailor your message to the media outlet.  For one client, I wrote two versions of the same press release.  One went to traditional media nationwide while the other went to alternative media nationwide.  If you are doing a national press release, don’t forget to do a more specific local one that highlights you or your service to your local newspaper.  They may just write a feature story about you with that local connection.

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